The rain was fierce today. It was so bad this morning that I chose not to drive the freeways to my part-time job.
After I took my wife to her job I headed straight home. Figured I could get some writing done.
That was not meant to be.
I lucked out and got a parking space right out front the apartment. However, my lucked failed when I discovered that someone had broken their key off in the gate’s lock. With the rain pouring down on me I attempted to get the piece of the key out, but to no avail. So I headed back to the car where I waited in vain for someone to come out the gate but no one arrived.
After talking with my wife on the phone, and attempting to reach the apartment manager, I planned to go spend the day at a local shopping mall before someone could get the door repaired. But before doing so I wanted to check one more time to see if anyone was around that might let me. But by then the rain was coming down so hard that the street was a flood and when I opened the car door I stepped out into ankle deep cold water soaking my shoes and socks.
So for the next few hours I spent in the mall with ice cold soaking wet feet until the manager finally got back to me with the code that would let me in without a key.
So don’t anyone ever tell me it doesn’t rain in California.
At least I didn’t come down with a cold.
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden Four Names of Professional Creativity
On Halloween of that year he left for America where he would run in both the New York and Boston marathons. Eventually traveling across country with his family to settle in Fullerton, California. Yet, our family has never been far from Ireland, having visited many times. We call it ‘Heaven on Earth.’
I have been thinking a lot about how far my grandfather traveled and ran through out his long life and how it relates to my own race of a job search.
Life is a marathon. Everything you do is part of that race, there are no sprints, and hundred yard dashes. Marathons are long races in which you have to pace yourself, there will be long straightaways, up hill climbs, and sharp hairpin turns that take you in unexpected directions or make it feel like you are running in circles and heading back the way you came. You have to be willing to keep at it for the entire run, ever focused on the goal even if you can’t see the finish line.
My marathon began when I was young and fell in love with comic books and television animation. I wanted to be a part of that! Run that race. After all the run to Hollywood from my home was relatively short, but I didn’t realize just how far that run would actually be. The slow jog through school was a struggle until I stumbled upon a university professor in art who understood what I was running for.
My first real milestone came when I was hired as a background artist on the pages of the first issue of SUPREME for Image Comics. I thought that would lead me on a long straight away working in the comic book industry, but a turn too soon had me going in another direction.
Miles would pass and I kept on running. Along the way I would meet another running nearly the same race as I. She became the love of my life. Together Shannon I would run and create the webcomic FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY which has become a major part of our race for many years and miles. Though Shannon’s race had already lead her to work in television animation production, we soon found a mile stone together writing episodes of an animated series in Japan called MIDNIGHT HORROR SCHOOL, though very few people have ever seen it in the U.S. Along the road we have both written short stories and novels, and I have been hired to do book illustrations. After running our race for what seemed like forever Shannon and I were finally married.
Last year my marathon lead me to working as an Associate Producer on an animated feature film. Again I thought I was on a straight away towards my goal. Unfortunately, it was a short run when the project got canceled. I learned a lot from the experience and hope to use my skills as I race for another production job.
I just passed my latest milestone having a comic book published in which I both wrote and illustrated the story. All-Star Pulp Comics #4, from Airship 27 Productions, contains my story “The DA’s Dilemma,” staring the Veiled Avenger, a heroine out of the Golden Age of comics.
Many times I have run long distances with nothing around and feeling very alone, no one to hand me a cup of refreshing water when I need it or provide needed encouragement and direction, and yet I refuse to give up. This race is too important to me.
Now, with thoughts of my grandfather, I have begun to wonder if my marathon race may lead me back to Ireland. I have discovered there are many great animation production houses in Ireland and if I got a chance to work with them my race would bring together two of my great joys; Ireland and Animation.
Marathons are, as I have said, long races and I am nowhere near being able to see the Finish Line. For all I know it hasn’t been installed yet. Just know that my shoes are tied and I’m still on the road. It’s time to run!
Today marks the publication of ALL-STAR PULP COMICS #4. This issue includes the story “The DA’s Dilemma” staring the Golden Age of comics masked vigilante THE VEILED AVENGER, a public domain heroine in a brand new 8 page story.
This marks Kevin’s first published work where he both wrote and illustrated the story. He would very much like to thank the great crew at Airship 27 and Redbud Studios Comics.
Kevin did nine (9) interior illustrations for this novel. Ron Fortier and and everyone Airship 27 has been a great support as added my own work to this great book.
THE BAY PHANTOM – FEAST OF THE CANNIBAL GUILD by Chuck Miller.
Cover by Adam Shaw – (No relation.)
Airship 27 Productions, a leader in the New Pulp publishing community, is excited to present the second book in writer Chuck Miller’s series; “The Bay Phantom – Feast of the Cannibal Guild.”
When a shadowy group of criminals start shaking down restaurants in Mobile, Joe Perrone once again dons the cloak and goggles of the Bay Phantom. Shortly thereafter, wealthy young men begin dropping dead without warning. What do these things have in common with a mysterious psychic, a sinister funeral home, and a nationalist movement known as the Transatlantic Patriots Guild?
That is what the Bay Phantom must learn, and he must do it without his trusted aide, Mirabelle Darcy. She is away on a mission of her own; one that necessitates her breaking into the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Thus left to his own devices, can the Phantom thwart the Cannibal Guild and their deadly assassin, the Mummifier? Or will he become their next victim?
“Chuck Miller is one of the most original writers in New Pulp today,” states Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier. “His storytelling is truly unique and he envisions the most startling characters, both good and bad, ever to grace a pulp thriller. When Miller puts a spin on a tale, you’d best hang for a truly wild ride.”
Once again Chuck Miller offers up a thrilling new adventure set in the Deep South and starring his original pulp hero; The Bay Phantom. This is pulp action with an added spicy kick. Along for the adventure are cover artist Adam Shaw and, debuting for the first time with Airship 27, interior illustrator, Kevin Paul Shaw Broden.
AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS –
PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERATION!
Here is my today’s sketch. Of Howleen Wolf and Twyla from MONSTER HIGH: THIRTEEN WISHES.
I’ve been watching all the different EVER AFTER HIGH and MONSTER HIGH movies, and I like each of them for different reasons.
MONSTER HIGH THIRTEEN WISHES is to me perhaps one of the best of them.
It does what all these movies are required to do, first off introducing the latest version of the dolls, as well as the new ones for that season, put our characters into an adventure, and stress the theme of “All are welcome at Monster High, Freaky Flaws and All.”
In my opinion Thirteen Wishes goes a few steps further than most of the others do. Because it delves far more into the characters than the other movies do.
The basic theme here is about feeling alone and ignored, and what you do to have friends, be popular, and be accepted. Which is shown through Howleen Wolf and how she is tempted by the genie magic. While her friend Twyla doesn’t mind living in the shadows.
Even the new character of Gigi is shown hurting because she’s lonely, which results in the creation of the threat endangering everyone. That of Wisp.
It is further shown in Cleo when everyone forgets who she is, but even though she tries to pull herself back up the popularity rankings by her own wrappings, what really works best for her is that Duce feels for her even though he doesn’t recognize her. Their relationship will stand no matter what, (foreshadowing Boo York Boo York).
The third part of this Lagoona Blue and Gill’s relationship. How she struggles to be accepted by his family but can’t manage it, but of some very blatant racist themes that only magic can over come. She is soon happy, but at a cost. Happy to be part of his family she begins to exhibit the same racists thoughts as Gill’s parents. There is also an allusion to drug addition when she can’t get enough of the fresh water her new life demands. She’ll even give up what she enjoys for it.
Another theme that stands out, as shown in my illustration above. Is that your best friend will stick by you even when you’ve made the dumbest of actions in order to save you. As Twyla does for her Beast Friend Forever Howleen.
As stated, all the other Monster High films are good in their own way, but this film stands out above the rest because of its character depth and themes.
Thirteen Wishes was also the first to establish a link between Monster High and Ever After High.
Years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to write several episodes of the Japanese animated series MIDNIGHT HORROR SCHOOL, created by Naomi Iwata
The show was a relative success in Japan and many other countries around the world, unfortunately they were able find a market to sell the show to here in the U.S.A. So we were never able see our episodes broadcast in English.
I would have really been nice to show them to people, especially to help promote our animation careers for other series.
Maybe it’s not too late.
Hikky and his school friends are objects that human students loose during the school day. Such as a pencil that falls off your desk. At night the school becomes magical and all these lost objects become alive and go to their own school. There they learn to do amazing things and to one day graduate and become one of the Wonders of The World.
It was a fun series to work on. It got me my first animation writing credit and membership into the Animation Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America West.
Today I was sitting in the lobby of a television studio’s office building, drinking my Starbucks iced tea, and reading about a live action movie that was being made from an animated TV series from the self-same studio.
I thought that there was a young actor from one of the other TV shows this studio has produced would have been perfect for one of the leads of this movie if he was a bit younger. (Turns out I wasn’t the only one who had this thought.)
While this was going through my head an even younger boy sat across the lobby from me, he had a couple script pages of ‘sides’ and he was practicing his lines. He was preparing to audition for something. He was putting himself completely in to the role, ignoring all the people walking around him.
It was fascinating to watch.
I don’t know if he was there to audition for the young teenage lead of the movie mentioned above, but looking at him, watching him perform, I knew he would be perfect for the role.
I love living in the Burbank area and witnessing things like this. Going to pay attention to the casting of this film.
If you know anything, “Call me, Beep me.”
What’s the sitch?
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity
This evening my wife, author Shannon Muir, and I will be attending the 2017 Animation Writers Caucus Annual Meeting and Award Presentation at the offices of the Writers Guild of America in Los Angeles. Events like these have always been special to us because at first it was a chance to meet our creative and literary heroes we have looked up to, then becoming fellow animation writers, and in some special cases becoming close friends.
At these annual meetings we honor a writer who has truly added to the animation industry as a writer and creator. This year our presentation must also be a memorial as the award is being given posthumously to writer extraordinaire and friend Len Wein.The outside world knows him best as the creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing, but he is so much more especially to a little boy who had to sit for hours in a hospital lobby while his grandparents were being taken care of upstairs.
The hospital chaplain took pity on the little boy who had nothing to do on those old vinyl couches than his homework and so gave me two comic books, Superman and The Flash. They were great, and that gift meant a lot to me, but it wasn’t until I wandered into the hospital gift shop that my life was changed forever.
Along side the magazines the small shop had a few very small comic books for sell. One of which, with the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA logo on the top and text at the bottom that read “33 Super-Stars in One Epic Adventure!” with dozens of those heroes jumping of the front and back cover, had my full attention. I convinced my mother to give me the 95 cents to purchase this copy of DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #11.
Opening those four-color pages I found myself tumbling into a wonderful world of super heroes. Yes, I knew of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman from television and cartoons, but there were so many many more. Here I learned not only about the Justice League but also the Justice Society of America, and that there was an Infinite number of parallel earths where more heroes resided.
I was definitely hooked and the DC Universe was my playground from then on.
This digest turned out to be a reprint of JUSTICE LEAGE OF AMERICA #100, 101, and 102, about our heroes on a quest to find seven more heroes lost to the ages.
This great story, that put a boy on a quest to discover all the heroes of the golden age of comics, was written by the great comic book author Len Wein. I would soon be reading many more.
(An interested side note is that Len also edited the Blue Ribbon Digest that it was reprinted in.)
I was not the only one influenced by this comic; fellow comic book writer Gail Simone also marks this story as what began her path into comics.
I learned just the other day that Len himself fell in love with comics as a child while he was in the hospital as well. Though for him it was for medical treatment, but he has stated that those comics and super heroes got him through it.
Now that little boy who sat quietly in the hospital lobby wants to pay his respect to the man who sent towards a career as a comic book and animation writer. I honor you Len for all the stories you have brought to the world, and for being a friend.
Kevin Paul Shaw BrodenFour Names of Professional Creativity
This month of August (2017) I am doing a series of sketched based on the career of Comic Book legend Jack Kirby’s career.
I started off with the Blue Beetle because that was the first masked hero that Kirby illustrated. It appeared in a news paper comic strip.
My second illustration is of Sandman and Sandy the Golden Boy.
Ol’ Wesley Dodds tosses away his trench coat, fedora, and gas mask for the bright tights that all the latest heroes were wearing. He also picked up a young Side Kick. Sandy’s shirt changed a little from issue to issue, but here he looks striking like Captain America’s partner Bucky.
Speaking of Cap, the third sketch is of Captain America and based on the cover art of Captain America #1 in 1940.
I hope to continue drawing more Kirby characters through out the month. (I did continue to draw Kirby characters through out August 2017, see my portfolio.)
This is the cover art for my latest short story:
MURDER ON THE COSPLAY EXPRESS
A Kent Bronwyn Mystery
If you have ever been to the San Diego Comic Con, this story is for you.
If you have ever ridden the Amtrak Surfliner train to San Diego for Comic Con, this story is for you.
If you are a Cosplayer, or have ever warn a costume at Comic Con, then this story is for you.
For Good Friday, I decided to post a drawing. A sketch I did this morning.
This scene has always meant a lot to me. I have also thought that the three prayers that Christ sends up to God is as much for us as it is for himself. Hundreds of years before the spirit of Death visited Egypt claiming the first born children of the land, passing over those who sacrificed and placed the blood of the lamb upon their doors. Now the spirit of death was returning and it had its eyes set on the entire world. There would be no stopping it, but God had a plan. His own first born would be sacrificed and his blood spilt on the lintel of the doorway of our lives. Upon the Cross.
He was praying that death would not come, but he knew it would.
“Yet not my will, but your will be done.”
The cross awaits him, but so does the empty tomb. For all of us.
Sunday is coming.
While at last weeks Sister’s in Crime meeting it was mentioned how this was National Library Week, and it got me to thinking of the Libraries in my life.
I suppose the first library I knew was the one in Elementary School, it was a side room to the Multi-Purpose room, and didn’t have a lot of books, but enough for what was needed for the school.
The second Library was when our town opened up a brand new city library. There had been a previous library, going way back to when it was shelves in a corner store. The main library is now a museum, but when the new library was opened my mother made certain that I was the first one there when the doors opened and I was the first to get a library card in the new library.
I was never a great reader growing up. Having to take special course to help improve my reading. Thank goodness for those instructors because they let me know that it was okay to read comic books. “If he’s reading, let him read.”
Later, in Junior High and High School, I spent a lot of time at the school libraries. Mostly it was to get away from the bullies of the school. I didn’t have a lot of friends then, but I did have books. I probably read more books during those lunch hours than I had anytime previously. I’m very thankful for those times.
I would continue to go back to our city library, renewing my library card every few years.
Now I live in another city with a great big library dedicated to the arts. I know I’m going to be spending a lot of time there.
And perhaps one day, one of my books will be in a library near you. Would you check me out please?
The other evening I was watching an episode of SUPERGIRL
In this episode SUPERGIRL discovers that Jimmy Olson is the Guardian who has been fighting crime in the streets of her city, and even catching those that escape her.
<End of SPOILER>
Looking at the design of The Guardian’s shield made me think of the creation of the original character.
Jack Kirby created The Guardian in his Newsboy Legion series. In the 1970s he, and they, were part of the Cadmus Project in Kirby’s Fourth World books, but back in the 1940s he was Jim Harper and basically the guardian of these street kids.
As a police officer he did a good job, but felt it necessary to put on a mask to protect these kids all the more. He also carried a golden shield.
It is that shield that is important. Even though he was forced to put on the mask, Jim Harper saw himself as a police officer first, and even his shield was designed to look like a policeman’s shield, his badge. In later incarnations of The Guardian this part him is lost. Many masked vigilantes are forced not only to fight the bad guys, but also the police. For Jim Harper, The Guardian’s role is something much more. He had to be a hero to the Newsboy Legion and the people on the street, but also to his fellow police officers.
Years before Jim Harper put on the golden helmet of The Guardian, policewoman Peggy Allen saw flaws in the regular justiciable system and so put on a costume and became the WOMAN IN RED.
The idea that these police officers saw a necessity to step out of their uniforms to wear masks in order to fight crime spurs a lot of thought and potential stories.
I’d love to tell a story about that original version of The Guardian.
Post Script – The Golden Guardian which I posted for Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday.
Jack Kirby – The Golden Guardian
Earlier in the year I sketched an image of the Golden Age super hero The Guardian in my blog about the character and his use in the TV series Supergirl.
This Silver Age version of the character called The Golden Guardian Kirby incorporated into his Fourth World New Gods story line in the pages of Jimmy Olsen. As part of the Cadmus project this Guardian is what many later versions would be based on. Whether it was in later comics, in the animated series Young Justice, or in Supergirl.
Continuing to celebrate Jack Kirby’s 100th Birthday.
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity